Run - Road 19:41  4.7 km (4:11 / km)
slept:9.0 weight:167lbs shoes: Roclite 312gtx
I've recently been reading some stuff about running efficiency and particularly stride frequency (aka turnover). It has been noted that most elite runners have a stride rate of just about 180 footfalls per minute, which mirrors the reputed optimum cycling cadence of 90 rpm.
I've also been amazed by the apparent leg turnover of runners of shorter stature (Peter Gagarin and Deb Livingston come to mind) that I've run with.
So yesterday while running at Valley Falls I tried to measure my stride rate on the rail trail sections - but it was kind of a pain in the butt counting while checking the watch. So this AM it occurs to me that an easier way to assess this would be to run with a metronome. So a quick search on iTunes finds a couple of metronome apps for the ipod touch, download a likely looking free app, set it to 2/4 time, 180bpm (vivace) with a rimshot on the downbeat and hihat on the upbeat. Then set out to do a brief 20 minute run on the dirt road to see if I could keep the tempo - left foot on the rimshot, right foot on the hihat.
Settled right into a nice groove, thought the ticking in my head would be annoying but it really wasn't and found that 180 bpm felt just fine - not too fast nor too slow and I really didn't have to think about it much and my footfalls landed just about right. I did find when I'd crest a small hill that I seemed to speed up slightly so I lengthened my stride slightly to accommodate, but that was about it.
An interesting experiment and worth repeating on longer runs to see how consistent the stride frequency is. I suspect that it slows as I fatigue, but perhaps by running with the metronome in my ear, I can train myself to maintain the steady cadence over the longer runs and thus hopefully improve my overall speed. Won't help my orienteering worth a damn, but hey, I've gotta work on something...